Cummings, Trump find common ground on need for drug pricing reforms

Posted March 10, 2017

Cummings will be joined by Rep. Peter Welch D-Vt., and Dr. Redonda G. Miller, president of Johns Hopkins Hospital. Every day, I walk and say, 'I would like to meet with him, ' because I do want to solve the problem", Trump said of Cummings, adding: "He probably was told by (Senate Minority Leader Chuck) Schumer - or somebody like that, some other lightweight - he was probably told, he was probably told, 'Don't meet with Trump. "He apparently was not in contact with his staff properly", Cummings explained at the time.

While it's not clear what position Trump may eventually take if efforts like Cummings and Welch's legislation gets off the ground, drugmakers should take heed of the President's continued interest. In a statement, the White House said Trump "expressed his desire to work with Congressman Cummings in a bipartisan fashion to ensure prescription drug prices are more affordable for all Americans, especially those who need lifesaving prescription medications".

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In a much-cited but now decade-old letter to Congress, the Congressional Budget Office estimated giving HHS authority to negotiate prices alone would have only a "negligible effect on Medicare drug spending".

"I told him I am grateful to be an HBCU graduate", said Cummings, who attended Howard University and whose wife and two daughters are graduates of HBCUs.

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The Maryland representative also said he told Trump that he believed voter fraud - which the president has often raised - is "all but nonexistent". A clause in current law prevents the Department of Health and Human Services from interfering in the price paid for drugs.

The two are set to meet on Wednesday and the issue at hand will be prescription drug prices. Cummings is ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

"This has become the number one health issue for most Americans", Cummings said. "We called, called, called, called", he said.

Trump was enthusiastic about the proposal and has publicly supported allowing Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices in the past, Cumming said.

"What we have is a lot of pharmaceutical companies that are raising the prices of drugs unreasonably".